Guest Blogger

San Diego Summer Fun With a Tween

Enjoying the trains at Balboa Park - Tween Summer Fun

All Aboard! Tweens love spending the summer in San Diego and one fun thing to do is ride the miniature trains at Balboa Park

School is out and summer is finally here! As a big sister and nanny in San Diego I am constantly looking for ways to keep the tweens in my life entertained and off their electronic devices. Besides our amazing attractions like SeaWorld, LEGOLAND and the San Diego Zoo, here are my top five picks when entertaining a tween in San Diego.

Visit the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

The Reuben H. Fleet in Balboa Park is a fully interactive science center that simplifies scientific concepts and makes them accessible to kids of all ages in a fun, hands on way. My middle-school aged brother particularly enjoyed seeing his classroom science lessons come alive via interactive experiments. He even taught me a thing or two.

See the Leopard Sharks at La Jolla Shores

Going to the beach during the summer in San Diego is a must, and La Jolla Shores is the perfect location to find sun and surf. This time of year is also prime time for leopard shark sightseeing right off the coast. Some days, swarms of these harmless bottom feeders can be seen from the coast or close up through snorkeling tours and kayaking expeditions. Most importantly, nearly any tween’s interest will be piqued by the idea of swimming with sharks.

Take a ride on the Balboa Park Carousel and Miniature Railroad

If you are looking for a shorter adventure that won’t take up the whole day, try the train ride and carousel situated in Balboa Park near the San Diego Zoo. The antique and charming carousel offers a brass ring game that is perfect for tween riders. The miniature railroad is equally entertaining and has the feel of a genuine train. Bring a packed lunch and have a picnic on one of the lawns scattered throughout the park.

Visit Seaport Village Downtown

Seaport Village is a must see attraction located downtown adjacent on the harbor. It houses a variety of restaurants, shops and outdoor entertainment to suit every taste. If you are lucky, the village’s famed rock balancer will make an appearance; his ability to stack up to 9 rocks on top of each other without the use of superglue or some sort of magic is sure to mystify every member of your party.

Belmont Park

Located right next to Mission Beach, Belmont Park houses amusement park rides including the historic Big Dipper roller coaster, an arcade and even laser tag. This bayside theme park is a San Diego favorite and a quintessential part of summer, whether you’re visiting or exploring your hometown.

> Plan your Summer in San Diego

Written by Victoria Lievre – San Diego native, UCSB student, sister to a tween and nanny to two more.


San Diego Summer Fun – “Teen Tested, Mother Approved!” Activities

Summer in San Diego
Summer in San Diego

Even teens will admit to their parent’s that summer in San Diego is awesome!

Alice Cooper said it best, “No more teachers, no more books…school’s out for summer!” When the final school bell rings and summer break begins, there’s no better place to bring your kids than San Diego, especially teenagers. San Diego has great teen activities known to cause many of them to happily lay down their smart phones and join in the fun. Here are a few “teen-tested, mother approved” San Diego activities that my own two teenagers enjoy every summer.

Boogie Boarding

The beach and boogie boarding go hand in hand, like San Diego and sunshine. With 70 miles of gorgeous beaches, there’s plenty of surf for everyone. The best thing about it, just about anyone can do it. Teens love boogie boarding, and smaller kiddos and adults can jump right in for unlimited wave action too. Boogie boards can be rented at any of the surf shacks close to the beach.

Surf Lessons

Surfs up! Surfing is a way of life in San Diego, but if your teens don’t know how, don’t fret. Try Surf Diva Surf School located in La Jolla Shores, which is recognized world-wide and offers surfing lessons year-round. There’s also Menehune Surf School in La Jolla, founded and staffed by local school teachers who will have your teens up on a board and riding waves in no time. Or, if you want to experience “sheet wave” technology, try The Wave House in Mission Beach, which harnesses the power and challenge of the ocean in a man-made, closed system that gives you non-stop action.

Gather Around the Fire Pit

Most Southern California teens (including my own) love hanging out at the beach around a roaring beach bonfire. The Hotel Del Coronado offers “S’Mores on the Beach” where you can sit around a crackling fire pit under the stars, toes in the sand, and snack on the classic combination of marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate. Other options for fire pits are Mission Bay Park, Mission Beach, La Jolla Shores and Moonlight Beach in North County.

Bike Riding

The great thing about riding a bike is that most teens never outgrow it. San Diego has an abundance of biking trails for you and your teens to ride along paths with awesome views of the Pacific Ocean. Along the beach and boardwalk, there are ample places where bikes can be rented.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Petco Park

During baseball season, my teenage son loves watching the Padres at Petco Park, one of America’s newest ballparks. But in the off season, your teens can catch all the MLB action with a behind-the-scenes tour, offered seven days a week. Discover “writer’s row” in the press box or explore the Padres dugout. The crown jewel of downtown San Diego, Petco Park serves up baseball Southern California style-complete with swaying palm trees and a sandy beach beyond center field.


Both guys and girls will find plenty to browse for at Seaport Village, Old Town, SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo, which are the usual suspects, but offer one-of-a-kind San Diego souvenirs. There are also major malls, boutiques, surf shops and incredible outlet stores throughout San Diego County that offer big brand names and big discounts for fashion-progressive teens.

> Find more to do this Summer in San Diego

Tell us where you and your teens like to spend time in San Diego!


Boutiques in San Diego Perfect for Your Tween/Teen

Mimi and Red Boutiques

It has been quoted that for the tween/teen girl the top three activities of her choices are:  to hang out with friends, listen to music and yes you know it – Shop, Shop, Shop! For that reason I thought I would list some of my favorite places to shop for that up-and-coming Stylista. I prefer these boutiques based on three components: being on-trend, age appropriate styles and great price points for the savvy tween/teen.

Studio 1220 Boutique

Studio 1220

Studio 1220

My first recommendation is Studio 1220 Boutique. I love their selection of that laid-back chic California-Girl look. The clothes are comfy, on-trend and stylish. They also have a great selection of scarves and jewelry.

Carlsbad – 1923 Calle Barcelona #147, Carlsbad, CA 92009 (map)
Solana Beach – 665 Rodolfo Dr. #109B, Solana Beach, CA 92075 (map)
Del Mar – 12925 El Camino Real #J-7, San Diego, CA 92130 (map)
Point Loma – 2850 Womble Road #100, San Diego, CA 92106 (map)
Coronado – 952 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118 (map)

Pretty Please Boutique

Pretty Please Boutique - Coronado

Pretty Please Boutique – Coronado

Another stylish choice with great price points is Pretty Please Boutique. This boutique carries colorful dresses, blouses, jeans, and dresses. I love their selection of affordable jewelry too!

Del Mar – 12925 El Camino Real Suite J-10, San Diego, CA 92130 (map)
Hillcrest – 1220 Cleveland Ave Suite, M-111, San Diego, CA 92103 (map)
Carlsbad – 5617 Paseo Del Norte Suite #116, Carlsbad, CA 92008 (map)
Carmel Mountain – 11835 Carmel Mountain Road Suite 1310, San Diego, CA 92128 (map)

Twirl Boutique

Twirl Boutique

Twirl Boutique

Twirl Boutique carries some nice options for dressier ensembles while still offering everyday chic looks. They also carry a nice selection of jackets and purses.

Location: 3840 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103 (map)

Dolcetti Boutique

Dolcetti Boutique

Dolcetti Boutique

Dolcetti Boutique carries a little but more of a sophisticated look. The owners have a great eye on the latest styles for that Stand-Out girl who does not shy away from the current fashions. This is also a great place to get a make-up lesson upstairs at their full service salon.

Location: 635 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)

Eden Boutique

Eden Boutique

Eden Boutique

If you need a romper , maxi dress, or short options, Eden Boutique is the place to find it.  I also like their selection of shirts, jewelry, and clutches that won’t break the bank!

Location: 520 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)

The Shopaholics Boutique

The Shopaholics Boutique

The Shopaholics Boutique

With new inventory coming in all of the time, The Shopaholics Boutique seems to always have just the right ensembles for all occasions. Their dress, jackets, and jewelry options are fabulous and at just the right price.

Location: 1506 India Street, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)

Mimi and Red Boutiques

Mimi and Red Boutiques

Mimi and Red Boutique

Mimi and Red Boutiques are truly one of my go-to boutiques for teens. The brands, colors and options are endless! You can easily purchase an entire outfit at very reasonable prices.

San Diego – 3032 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104 (map)
La Jolla – 5630 La Jolla Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92037 (map)

Rica Boutique

RICA Boutique Storefront

RICA Boutique in San Diego’s La Jolla

A newer boutique in La Jolla, Rica Boutique, carries the latest bright and comfy California-Girl choices.  Their selection of dresses, shorts, and blouses are very polished but easily accessible. They also carry some fab shoe and accessory options.

Location: 7456 Girard Avenue, San Diego, CA 92037 (map)

> Find more Boutiques and Shopping in San Diego

So if the data of tween/teens liking to shop then this list should be a great start for that Stylista in training!

Katie S.

Tweetless Teen Tours

So you are planning a vacation with your teens and want to be sure they do more than lay on the beach and text their friends back home. Consider an arts and culture tour designed with them in mind. Most all San Diego arts organizations have special programs designed for ages 11-17. To make it more fun, hop on the Old Town Trolley and make the tour itself an adventure. When the ride is as fun as the destination, your teens are sure to stop tweeting and start exploring. These kid-friendly arts and culture venues throughout Balboa Park and Downtown are accessible by the Trolley. Get started in front of ARTS TIX at Horton Plaza and check out that evening’s half-price Theater, Music and Dance tickets. Be sure to include the following on your adventure:

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center/IMAX Theater– features more than 100 interactive science exhibits in five galleries, as well as major traveling exhibitions.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum – featuring the largest indoor model railroad display in the world.

San Diego Natural History Museum – exhibits for the naturalist or environmentalist in your family. Learn about the diversity of Southern California and Baja California

Japanese Friendship Garden – get exposed to Japanese horticulture…and culture…as you sample exotic snacks and sip tea in the traditional tea room after touring the gardens.

Maritime Museum/Star of India – your “young” salt will enjoy touring one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the world’s oldest active ship, the Star of India.

USS Midway Museum – imagine experiencing life at sea aboard one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers.

Also, several museums have specialized programs designed for that hard to please age. The San Diego Museum of Art has the Teen Art Café, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego teen programs are designed by teens themselves and the New Children’s Museum Teen Studio is only open to ages 11 and older.

A nighttime option is to invite your teens to “see themselves” on stage by attending performances by the ultra-talented youth from the San Diego Youth Symphony, Eveoke Dance Theater, J*Company, or San Diego Junior Theater. Check for full listings.